What would happen if everytime you wanted to use an image in an school assignment, instead of just crediting it – you had to write to the photographer for permission to use it? Or your instructor wanted to use that same image in a preszentation but they needed to wait to hear back from a publisher for permission before they could post it to D2L – and your test is Friday? What would happen if you wanted to photocopy a single chapter of a Library Reserve book to read at home – but first you needed the formal ok of the author? What about if you were working on a research assignment with a classmate and wanted to send a single article you scanned from a journal to them so they could read it too – but couldn’t because it would be considered copyright infringement. What if your professor could never upload anything ever for you to read to your class no matter if it is a just a few pages and important for your educational studies without it being against the law?
Luckily in Canada we have something called fair dealing, a copyright exception that gives you a user’s right to make and use short excepts of copyrighted materials for certain purposes such as education, private study, research and criticism and review – activities you do everyday as a student. If that copyright exception – fair dealing – was not in Canadian laws and in the Copyright Act – that material would be unavailable for you to copy without a licence – which could limit your access to material that contain knowledge you need to learn. Much of what students and educators do on a daily basis would be really really hard without fair dealing.
Fair dealing is really important because it allows a freer flow of information to happen in an educational setting – it promotes learning and scholarship. Creator’s rights (an authors or publishers right to be compensated for the use of a work) is in balance with your right to use a short excerpt of a work without having to get the permission every time you use copyrighted material in your school work. So celebrate Fair Dealing – it is a user’s right that Canadians should use, not lose.